Monday, November 01, 2010

Cookbooks: Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free by Silvana Nardone

It seems that, over the last decade or so, even the simple act of feeding ourselves has gotten to be a lot more complicated. I’m sometimes undecided: was it just that we all suffered in silence -- or at least in ignorance -- when we were kids? Or are we all just more vulnerable these days in a world gone mad with GMOs and other attacks on our delicate systems? Whatever the case, gone are the days when whole platoons of people could relax in the comfort of their “meat and potatoes” preferences. Lately it seems everyone I speak with is dealing with some sort of food sensitivity somewhere close to them. And as anyone who has dealt with these sort of issues knows, anything from a simple (and increasingly common) peanut allergy to lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivities can wreak havoc with a whole family.

This is just what Silvana Nardone had to deal with when her 13-year-old son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with food sensitivities to gluten and dairy. Nardone was forced to rethink every aspect of the way her family ate. The book that resulted from this exploration of whole new food worlds, Cooking for Isaiah (Sprig) could well be life-changing for less talented chefs in a similar position.

“I am not a doctor,” Nardone writes in her introduction. “I am not a nutritionist. I am not a trained chef. I am not a food scientist. I am just a mom who wants to feed her kids.” While all of this is undoubtedly true, more things are true, as well. For instance, unlike a lot of non-chef moms who “just wants to feed her kids,” Nardone is the founding editor of Every Day with Rachel Ray (in fact, Ray writes the introduction here). She’s also a cooking instructor and food consultant and the co-author of Saveur Cooks Italian. However, her understatement is your big gain. Cooking for Isaiah is anything but the floundering amateur chef mom’s attempts at getting dinner on the table. Cooking for Isaiah is simply stuffed full of recipes anyone could feed anyone. Beautiful food, simply prepared, gorgeously presented, lucidly shared. All of us should be as lucky as Nardone’s Isaiah. ◊

Linda L. Richards is editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.



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